Iran elections: Ahmadinejad’s “Sweet Smell” of defeat
Iranians on Friday cast their ballot for municipal governments, some parliamentary by-elections but above all for the Assembly of experts, which is elected (for eight years) only by Muslims and is made up of 86 mullahs who have the power to choose and even impeach supreme leaders.
The elections in some areas where less than fully democratic because the Council of Guardians, a body which decides which candidates who can run, left voters with no choice but to choose candidates from a list equal to the number of seats to be filled.
Still participation was high—62 per cent. And President Ahmadinejad used this to wax poetry about a “glorious era”, the “people’s victory” and the “neutralised Western conspirators”. Foreign Affairs spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini also cited voters’ turnout to claim that the Iranian people backed
The outcome might be a prelude to major changes. Seen by some as the power behind the throne, Rafsanjani can be happy after having the people reject him twice. Now he can glow in the legitimacy conferred by the democratic process and hope that he might one day succeed
Friday’s elections also marked Ahmadinejad’s second defeat. Although details about the vote are trickling in slowly,
Meanwhile, reformers, allied to the pragmatic conservative Rafsanjani, are back. Theirs is no renaissance—a few seats in local governments and perhaps three by-elections—but it is a start. One of their candidates, a woman named Soheila Jelodarzadeh, might even make into the Majlis (parliament). However, results have not yet been released.